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David Tunno Author Interview

Intrepid Spirit follows a disgraced Navy Lieutenant as he’s given command of an old warship and uses it and his intellect to stop a terrorist plot. What was the inspiration for the setup to your riveting story?

I combined my long-standing fondness for USS Constitution, US naval history and the age of sail with the events of 9/11. As Constitution was built to fight the Islamic terrorists of 200 years ago, it occurred to me to put her back in a fight that has apparently never really ended.

Moses Redding is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted to distinguish the novel from the usual action/adventure military thrillers. I wanted it to be a more satisfying and enduring read. For that it had to have characters and human conditions the reader can relate to and become more emotionally involved with. I wanted to make the story as much character driven as plot driven. For that I needed a main character that needed a character arc to create conflict and resolution. He had to be a navy hero, suggesting an alpha male, but with a history and a complexity that creates both problems for himself as well as solutions for the broader conflict in the story. He was a lot of fun to write, especially the humorous parts. Making the ship herself a character that affects Redding’s transformation, and that he connects with, was key to completing that arc and setting Redding on a course to fulfill a destiny for the both he and the ship.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The most important one was the creation of a terrorist plot that was both global in scope and believable. I wanted the stakes to be as high as possible. A lot of research went into learning, for example, the number of terrorists organizations operating here in the US and around the world. That was eye opening, as was researching the relevant parts of the Qu’ran and the interpretations of them by Muslim scholars.

To carry out that plot, I wanted an antagonist who would be the equal of Redding. To lead a world-wide jihad, he would have to be brilliant and ruthless, but also charismatic and with a special quality that would destine him to that role. That need created Colonel Farzad, who prompted more research into mid-east politics and Islamic beliefs to build an authentic and very special character. Even that special quality he needed was the result of research into celestial events in that region in a year when Farzad could have been born, as well as Islamic culture with respect to such events.

Romance and magic were also important themes and, let’s face it, they go together. Sailing is a very romantic experience and I would ad a magical one at that. Constitution’s history includes recorded episodes of haunting. That played into my desire to make her a character in the story and one that affected not only the character arc of Redding, but the outcome of the epic battle itself. I wanted her to be like a giant sea creature with a cosmic connection who is seemingly aware of the humans riding on her decks and her place in history. Much to his surprise, Redding develops a kind of love affair with the ship that parallels his relationship with Dr. Miriam Hanna, another complex character with a history of her own that creates barriers between herself and Redding.

Finally, history itself was an important theme. The story ties the ship’s history, which is also the origins of the history of the US in the middle east, with the present day geopolitical landscape in that region, adding a hook and a twist to the story that I think only Constitution could provide.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m working full time to get this novel published. All my energy is going there, but I have another military story in mind to write next. It’s a WWII story that will also need a lot of research, but should be both challenging and fun to write.

Author Link: Website

Intrepid Spirit

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Intrepid Spirit is an intense read featuring all-too-real scenarios relating to current world affairs. Author David Tunno’s story is a gripping present-day naval fiction. The fierce, vibrant tale of the old Constitution and its fallen hero to fight a battle as their reputation is at stake and the lives of many people are in danger. The story is set in the modern world with historical elementals as an ornamental background. Lieutenant Moses Redding, a brave combat-loving officer, is given the command of the Constitution as a punishment for not following orders. Still, significant challenges and grand purpose lie ahead.

The story starts with a tense battle between the crew of the USS Constitution and a terrorist group that is determined to undermine peace and create unrest in the name of their religion. The preventive diplomacy and political leaders are trying to resolve tensions within the mid-east, this gives the story a some subtle undertones of political intrigue that adds to the overall thrill of the novel. The hero is a navy lieutenant, who tried helping stranded refugees, even after disapproval by his superiors, but fails and is punished  because his actions are believed to have jeopardize those talks. He’s banished to the command of the Constitution, an epic historical warship currently in Italy on a goodwill PR tour, used almost as a tourist attraction, which is practically derogatory for a brave and distinguished war hero. But as fate has it, certain circumstances lead to events where the ship and its crew are the only fighting forces in a position to rescue the US Vice President from a terrorist group bent on lighting the fuse on a world-wide jihad by assassinating her. This is a fantastic setup to a suspenseful novel because it seems so antithetical to what actually happens. This reminds of the setup to the TV series Battlestar Galactica, but a much more contemporary story line.

Author David Tunno has a charming and compelling writing style. His characters include both living people as well as nonliving objects. He gives life to objects, and they are as crucial as human characters. The book sometimes doesn’t strictly adhere to consistent timelines, and the buildup of the story is occasionally frantic, but as the story picks up, it engulfs you in its world. The only issue I had with this book was introducing too many characters together at places, probably because it was initially written as a screenplay, which was then turned into a novel. Besides this, the book is a genuinely entertaining read. The author creates a story with a high level of sensory details and actions rather, completely immersing you in the story and the action.

Intrepid Spirit is one of the most thrilling books I’ve read this year so far. The political tension and intrigue coupled with hair-raising action, geopolitical chess, and cutting-edge technology make it an enjoyable book for anyone looking for a suspenseful military action novel that never forgets to entertain the reader.

Pages: 343


The Intrepid Spirit manuscript is currently in search of a publisher or book agent. Contact the author at


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